Quilting Arts Holiday Blog Hop 2014 and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Lori Miller Designs!  I am very excited to be participating in the Quilting Arts Holiday Blog Hop 2014.  All of the contributors have joined the hop and you can find great give-aways, tips and ideas for holiday gift giving along the way.  The magazine features a slew of great holiday gift ideas that you can whip up for the special people on your gift list this holiday season.   I really enjoy making handmade gifts for my friends and family, especially for the holidays.  These unique, one of a kind gifts seem to be well received and I like infusing a little love into each item.  In recent years, I have started making multiples of similar gifts to give away.  These small, useful items are on the agenda for everyone on my list.


This year I am making these cute Gingerbread House Pincushions featured in the magazine.  It is a great little project for gift giving to your creative sewing and quilting friends for the holiday and it is not too early to start getting ready.  All  of the directions are included in the magazine and you can sew up these cute little confections in a jiffy.  Make a bunch of them using my ideas below to create gifts in multiple quantities.

Nifty Gifty Tips

LM Designs calendar and list

Start planning early.  Figure out what kind of item or gift you want to make in early fall so you can gather patterns and materials and have time to stitch them up.  I like to start in September and pace myself so I am not pulling my hair out as the holiday gets closer.


Customize the gift. Just because you are making many of the same item does not mean that you can’t tailor them to individuals and make them special.  Personalize them with names or with your choice of fabrics.  Try a fabric with a theme or hobby or favorite color that matches the individual or their décor.

Practice.  Take an afternoon and completely sew through one version of the gift to have a feel for the time it will take, any special notions you will need, and to make notes on the pattern that will make the assembly go faster.  Also, it may eliminate a few surprises if you get in a hurry.

Set up an assembly line.  When you do similar items at once, I think the work simply goes faster.  Group the tasks together.  Consider cutting everything out at once, then stitching and piecing, then quilting, and finishing.  If you are appliquéing or sewing, try to sew all of the things with that particular thread color so you are not constantly changing the spool.

LM Designs rainbow baskets

Don’t get too ambitious.  Ask me how I know this one.  I made these lovely rainbow baskets for my sewing friends last year.  I used all scraps to make the 2 ½ inch squares, but these were huge and the quilting took forever, I thought I would never get them finished.  One friend even got a few pins instead of buttons as I rushed to gift them.  Oops.  May I suggest you find a simple but useful item, big is not always better.

Lori Miller Designs supplies

Stock up on supplies. Be sure  to have extra thread, needles and notions handy.  Needles break and threads run out and if you are in the stitching zone, you don’t want to have to stop to get a needed supply.  Stock up and be ready.

Have fun! Sew with a friend.  Turn on your favorite music, invite your crafty friend over stitch and EAT the day away.  You will not believe what you can accomplish, and the fun memories you will have,  when you share the day sewing with a friend.

lori miller designs gingerbread house pincushion

To celebrate my pattern being published in the magazine, one lucky reader will receive this Gingerbread House Pincushion in a giveaway.

Contest Closed.Thanks to those who entered. Winner is Josie Davis, congratulations.

Here is the Holiday Blog Hop Schedule:

Friday, September 12, Vivika Hansen DeNegre

Saturday, September 13, Lyric Kinard

Sunday, September 14, Claude Larson

Monday, September 15, Linda McLaughlin,  and Kathy Kerstetter

Tuesday, September 16, Lori Miller

Wednesday, September 17, Melanie Testa and Liz Kettle

Thursday, September 18, Susan Brubaker Knapp,

Friday, September 19, Lisa Chin

Saturday, September 20, Sarah Ann Smith

Sunday, September 21, Catherine Redford

Fall Leaves and a Thank You!

Well, September is certainly here with the cool fall weather and I am not quite ready for the leaves to change colors. While I am holding onto the green a little longer outside, inside is all about quilting some autumn leaves. First up, a beautiful pieced maple leaf quilt. I am working on this special project for my mom.  (Shhh – she does not know so don’t spill the beans).  She really admired a maple leaf quilt when I was back in Des Moines visiting her and we went to a see quilt show.  She said she just loved all the tones and colors in the fall leaves.  I tucked that hint away and started to work on her quilt.   I found a great pattern on All People Quilt called Tumbling Leaves.


I enlisted my sit and stitch group to help stitch some of the leaves over the past year and this fall I am trying to get them all pieced together.  I used all of my fall colored stash fabrics in green, yellow, red and orange.


I am about half way through putting the blocks together.  I am trying to just do a random order with not too many of the same colors together.  I can’t wait to share the quilt with you when it is all finished.


The second part of the post has to do with my Pattern, Quilted Pile of Leaves. This wonderful fall themed project pattern is one of my best sellers.  I really appreciate the support and wanted to give you all a big Thank You.  It means a lot to be able to share my creativity with you.  I was delighted to receive a thoughtful note from Cindy Young who had gotten the pattern and was beginning to stitch up her own Pile of Leaves.

Photo Courtesy of Cindy Young

Photo Courtesy of Cindy Young

She sent me some pictures of all of her handy work and even shared a few tips that some of you may find helpful.  She uses the flexible cutting boards to make her plastic templates for quilting and for these fall leaves in particular.  She says they are very economical and sturdy.  She also decided to use  Insul-Bright from the Warm Company  insulated lining for her leaves so she could use them on the table and protect the finish from hot dishes.

Photo Courtesy of Cindy Young

Photo Courtesy of Cindy Young


Here you can see what a big pile she made and she also started to create even more shapes that turned out darling.  Beautiful fall leaves and wonderful tips!  Thanks Cindy!

What fall projects are you working on?


My version of Kimberly Einmo’s Chainsaw Quilt

Lori Miller Designs  chain saw block closeup

When in Grand Rapids last month, I took a class from Kimberly Einmo.  She is a wizard with jellyrolls and precuts, and is now branching out to modern quilts and applique!  She taught her chainsaw quilt class.  It looks kind of like a saw blade, hence the name.  I cut up all my pink, coral, peach, tangerine and lavenderish fabrics in my stash to make my own layer cake and jelly roll.

Lori Miller Designs  Chain saw quilt block

You make the individual blocks.  They have that lovely jagged edge.


Then you spin them around and put four of them together to create the saw blade shape.


Kimberly’s quilt has borders and half square triangles, but I decide to make some extra chainsaw blocks and make the whole quilt out of them. (You can find the pattern in her book, Jelly Roll Quilts & More).

I just got the top pieced, but I think it came out striking.  I am thinking it wants some quilted circles, what do you think?

This could be a fun baby quilt with 16 blocks, it would sure stitch up fast.




Upcycled Quilty Folding Chair

Lori Miller Designs upcycled quilty folding chair

A few weeks ago I was spending a quiet weekend by myself at our “Up North” Michigan cottage.  It is so peaceful there and we are fortunate to live on a small inland lake.  I went into town for a few things and had to stop at the little local Goodwill store, you never know what bargains you will find.  I discovered a glass bread dish (perfect for some banana bread) and 3 well used folding chairs.  I looked at those chairs for a bit, I did need some extra seating in the cottage and they really had good bones.  The price sold me and I hauled my treasures out to my car.  I stopped at the local hardware store and picked up two cans of discontinued spray paint in a lovely stone grey for $3. Here is my adventure with those chairs.

Lori Miller Designs - before folding chair

My official before picture of one of the folding chairs.  Each chair had a cushioned back and a padded seat, a bonus.


A price of only $5.99 each didn’t hurt either.


When I got it home, I removed the back and cushion.  You can see it was definitely worn and rusted a bit.

Lori Miller Designs sanding folding chair

I took a 150 grit sandpaper and sanded down the whole chair.  I wanted the spray paint to really stick well.


Then I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove all of the loose debris.

Lori Miller Designs painting the folding chair

Next I began to spray paint the whole chair with my bargain spray paint.  I made sure to just shake it up extra good and I did not have any problems.  I painted in short light strokes so the paint would not drip.  I have decided spray paint is amazing.  After it dried, I flipped it over and painted any spots I missed.  It really dried pretty fast.  You can easily do this in a few hours.


While my chairs dried, I started to make my quilty coverings.  I really liked the idea of a sail boat motif for the cottage, so that is what I started with.  I used my stash of low volume grey prints as a neutral palette around the boat.  These are all one inch finished squares.


I used some batting and a backing of muslin and I quilted the design.  Then I covered the back cushion with it and screwed it back onto the chair.  The greys blended perfectly with the stone color spray paint.


For the seat, I took all of my teal and dark blue scraps and cut out 1 1/2 inch squares and randomly sewed them together.  Now, this part did take quite a while.  I liked the look of the small blocks, but you could use larger squares and it would go a lot faster.   If you look closely, you will see another little sailboat motif echoed on the seat.  I quilted this seat cover with batting and a backing of muslin too.  I just used straight line quilting with a walking foot, nothing fancy.   I chose a darker set of colors for the seat since it would get a lot of use.


For the seat, I had to staple it onto the seat with very short staples.  I pulled it as evenly as I could and worked carefully around the seat.


The corners were a little tricky, I just tried to position staples where I only had to go through one layer of fabric.

Lori Miller Designs finished upcycled quilty folding chair

Here is my finished upcycled chair, it turned out so cute.  I plan on spraying it with ScotchGuard to make it easy to clean.  These chairs look brand new!